“In short, Tom Trbojevic has proven over Manly’s latest run they’re a completely different team with him there,” Sportsbet’s Richard Hummerston said. “They were wooden spoon candidates, now they’re looking likely finalists if he stays on the field.”
Sportsbet rated Trbojevic a 12-point player before his performance against the Broncos, prompting the agency to adjust its line by a further point. Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston were considered among the most influential players of their generation, but neither would consistently move the points line as much as Trbojevic.
According to Champion Data, Manly have a win rate of 49.5 per cent in the 101 games Trbojevic has played. In the 52 matches when he’s been out, that figure plummets to 32.7 per cent.
“He is always going to be a threat,” Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler said after the win over the Broncos. “He is always going to have that influence on the game. You want those players.”
Trbojevic’s form – he has seven tries and 10 try assists in his five games this year – has sparked debate about his wider standing in the game.
“Manly’s got some unbelievably great players in their history,” Sea Eagles great Paul Vautin said during commentary for Channel Nine on Friday night. “Bob Fulton, who’s an Immortal, Graham Eadie’s up there with the best. But Tom, by the end of his career, if he stays healthy for the next six, seven, eight years, he could end up one of our greatest ever.”
Trbojevic’s form, and that of Manly, has set up a blockbuster clash against arch-rivals Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium next Sunday. The 24-year-old is a certainty for the Blues and how he emerges from the State of Origin period could be crucial to Manly’s premiership chances.
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US network NBC will not air the Golden Globes in 2022, following criticism over a lack of diversity in the group that organises the awards.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which oversees the TV and film prizes, has faced a Hollywood backlash after it emerged in February that none of its members are black.
The association’s ethics have also been questioned over alleged discriminatory practices, including apparently accepting inappropriate “freebies” following a Los Angeles Times investigation.
And now, NBC, the broadcast partner, has decided not to air next year’s ceremony.
It said in a statement: “We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.
“As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes.
“Assuming the organisation executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”
As well as losing its broadcast partner, Tom Cruise has returned his three Golden Globes in protest against the HFPA.
Cruise won the best actor award for Born on the Fourth of July in 1993, the best actor prize for Jerry Maguire in 1997 and the best supporting actor statuette in 2000 for Magnolia.
Also, Scarlett Johansson said she had been subjected to “sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment”.
Netflix and Amazon, two of the biggest players in Hollywood, previously said they would not work with the HFPA until it introduced more meaningful reform.
WarnerMedia, which owns HBO and Warner Bros, also said it would not work with the association.
The association had promised to address its diversity problem by admitting more black members.
The 2021 ceremony took place on 28 February, with the HFPA apologising during the show and promising reform.
The association announced its plans for reform last week, which included increasing its membership by 50% and hiring diverse advisers.
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The HFPA has retained US law firm Ropes & Gray to help implement the plan, with President Ali Sar saying the plans “reaffirms our commitment to change”.
However, the proposals were widely criticised.
Time’s Up, founded in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, said the plans fell short of what was required.
Netflix chief executive Ted Sarandos said the streaming giant’s relationship with the HFPA was on hold “until more meaningful changes are made”.
The HFPA is an organisation of an estimated 90 non-US journalists based in southern California.
HFPA has been contacted for comment.
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When the dizzy spells kept reoccurring, deep down Manly legend Graham ‘Wombat’ Eadie knew something was wrong.
Eadie had been feeling uneasy on his feet for roughly six months, but he kept putting the scares on the backburner hoping it was nothing to worry about.
Then his good mate – ex-Kangaroos teammate Tommy Raudonikis – passed away recently following a long battle with cancer – and former Sea Eagles No.1 realised he couldn’t procrastinate any longer.
“I haven’t been that well, so I went for brain scans,” Eadie said as he waited in the line at the doctor’s surgery in Kingscliff, just south of Tweed Heads on the NSW north coast.
“I was with Tommy about a week before he passed away, so I’m getting myself checked out now.
“I get little dizzy spells here and there and I had one the other day and that prompted the brain scans.
“I’ve got the scan results and they weren’t too bad. My brain matter had increased a little, so I’ve just got to keep an eye on it.”
Eadie, 67, had been in relatively good health since having open-heart surgery two years ago.
Now retired, he still finds time to watch his beloved Manly, who he represented with distinction in 237 games from 1971 to 1983.
He was glued to the screen on Sunday while sitting on the lounge sipping a cup of tea as his Sea Eagles held on to defeat the New Zealand Warriors in a point scoring spree.
Eadie couldn’t help but stand and cheer as Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic produced another scintillating solo display.
Trbojevic tormented the Warriors to finish with a SuperCoach nerd’s dream – two tries, four try assists, five line breaks, 11 tackle busts and 191 run metres.
Eadie believes ‘Turbo’ is on track to surpass Brett Stewart and himself to become the Sea Eagles‘ greatest fullback.
“Oh, I’ve got no doubts about that,” he said.
“His form has been phenomenal. He has got a great understanding with Daly Cherry-Evans, his brother Jake and that young winger Saab.”
Eadie couldn’t be more confident in Trbojevic, but he also knows the star No.1 needs to remain injury-free following a spate of setbacks.
He also battled hamstring problems as a young player starting out with the Sea Eagles in ’71, so he understands the importance of staying on top of injury.
“I don’t know what caused my hamstring issues, whether my back was out or whatever,” he said.
“It might have been that I was maybe too young and that could also be the case with Tom because his muscles are still developing.
“But with a bit of luck he might be over all his injuries and problems with his hamstrings, and he has just got the rest of his career ahead of him.”
Eadie can’t guarantee Trbojevic’s injury future, but he is certain the gun fullback won’t let his blistering form result in a big head.
“Tom seems to have a very level head on his shoulders,” he said.
“I think he has been brought up very well.
“I know with my parents; they were very well respected in the Woy Woy region and they always passed on to me to do the right thing.
“That is how they raised my brother and I and I can see similarities in the Trbojevic’s because Jake is the same.
“And there is still one to come isn’t there in young Ben? That is going to be interesting. Who is going to be the better one?
“That will create some good debate.”
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The 28-year-old Englishman looked in pain as he lay on the turf after falling awkwardly, holding his shoulder and neck area.
He was attended to for several minutes as several Souths teammates looked on, before Burgess was lifted onto a stretcher and carried off and the last four minutes 40 seconds of the game were played.
But he took to Instagram early on Friday morning to confirm there were no major concerns, with the Rabbitohs also confident the issue was just a burner.
“Hey guys, thanks for the messages of concern, I’m all good, CT scans have come back clear but have to keep this lovely thing [neck brace] on till the morning to rule out any serious nerve damage which can only be seen from an MRI scan,” he said.
“Could be a long night in Melbourne here but would rather be safe than sorry! How good the footy is back, eh.”
Working in Burgess’s favour is that the Rabbitohs have a nine-day turnaround until they face Manly at Brookvale Oval next Saturday.
Burgess’s injury soured an already tough night for the Rabbitohs, who were left chasing a 22-0 lead after just 29 minutes.
And while they fought back to get within six, Bennett described their first half as “awful” and said his team did not give themselves a chance, completing at 62 per cent and with 15 errors.
“I was pleased for 30 minutes and then we self-destructed again,” Bennett said.
“We played for 30 minutes, and the other 50 we were just wasting our time.”
He said they needed to be able to go 80 minutes with the competition heavyweights if they had hopes of going further than last season’s preliminary-final defeat.
While Souths had not won at AAMI Park in nine previous attempts, they came to Melbourne with high hopes after being a stand-out in the preseason.
“I know what the team is capable of, I’ve seen enough but we’ve got to get to these big games and do better than we do and that’s the challenge for us,” Bennett said.
Bennett said if there was any hype around his team, he was glad it was now gone.
“There could have been a bit of hype but there will be no hype around them now or for the next week or so which will be good,” he said.
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Dearden was being touted as the Broncos’ long-term halfback, but his departure has meant Brisbane will once again go back to the drawing board in a bid to unearth a genuine world class playmaker.
Dearden’s exit comes off the back of the departure of promising fullback Reece Walsh, who joined the New Zealand Warriors earlier this year.
The club also parted ways with the freakishly talented backrower David Fifita, who has gone on to star for the Gold Coast Titans.
“Obviously we are disappointed,” Kevin Walters via a club statement.
“We will continue to work through that process in the weeks and months ahead.”
There have been whispers the club is targeting an experienced playmaker.
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North Queensland has reportedly stolen young halfback Tom Dearden from Brisbane.
Senior News Corp journalist Phil Rothfield tweeted the news on Sunday night.
The Courier Mail reports the deal is three years and worth $1.1 million.
Dearden, 20, was spotted touring the Townsville facilities during pre-season and now it looks like he will head north to play for the Cowboys from next year.
North Queensland announced the signing of experienced halfback Chad Townsend earlier this week.
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Speaking to Wide World Of Sports, league legend Andrew Johns said he doesn’t see Townsend and Dearden working well together in the halves.
“I don’t think they go together at all. I think they’re too similar players,” Johns said.
“When you talk about halves combinations, there’s got to be the yin and the yang. And the best example of that is Nathan Cleary and (Jarome) Luai.
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Has been verbally agreed to for a week now done deal via @BuzzRothfield Broncos must get experienced playmaker to replace him. Brisbane never made a truly competitive offer to Dearden so they must have a replacement on hook. https://t.co/yCTAP52PHF
“You’ve got Nathan, who is prepared and the game manager and plays the percentages, and then you’ve got the other hand: the extroverted risk-taker who just plays and doesn’t think and is just a ball of energy – and that’s why they go good together.
“So you need that alter ego and that yin and yang. I think they’re too similar players.”
For Brisbane it will continue a worrying exodus of young gun talent from the club.
David Fifita went to Gold Coast on a rich deal and he scored three tries on Friday night for the Titans.
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Reece Walsh was released to join the Warriors and he made his NRL debut on Sunday, playing at fullback and pushing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to a wing.
On Saturday it was revealed there’s 18 players in the crosshairs as new coach Kevin Walters looks to clean out the Brisbane roster.
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It’s hard to imagine how Trbojevic could have played much better but Manly coach Des Hasler believes his fullback can only improve.
“I think Tom has more to come yet, personally. He’s only been back two games. But it’s a good start,” Hasler said.
“There were a couple of errors there that he made and the way the game turns, there are areas that he will capitalise on.
”The [halves] create the opportunity, they create the space. Someone like Tom Trbojevic can then finish off the play or a half opportunity.
“But Tom will always reflect on the fact that we have to create that space and I thought there were some willing people in our forwards that created those opportunities.”
Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans needed just five minutes to put the Tigers away and stamp Manly’s case as a possible challenger to the NRL’s top tier.
But they didn’t stop there. Trailing 6-0 after 30 minutes, the Sea Eagles scored 34 unanswered points in a 32-minute stretch either side of half-time to send their premiership stocks soaring and ensure the Tigers’ miserable start to the season continued.
Michael Maguire’s side now sit alongside the Bulldogs and Broncos with just one win through the first seven rounds.
Just eight days after pushing premiership contender Souths to their limit in a thrilling match, Maguire was forced to explain the most disappointing aspect of another embarrassing loss.
“It’s the ebbs and flows of the game we can’t handle. Last week we did, this week we didn’t,” Maguire said.
“We need to be able handle those moments in the game. The game’s momentum is shifting very quickly and within 10 minutes, we found ourselves well behind the pace. Three times. It didn’t need to happen. But it did.”
Maguire believes the source of his team’s problem is between the ears.
“That’s part of it, yeah. We played for 25 minutes and all of a sudden, momentum turned against us. It’s all about what’s between your ears and how you handle it,” Maguire said.
“Whatever’s happening next is the most important thing. That’s where we need to be living at this present moment. It’s not about the outcome. It’s about what you’re doing in this present moment to be able to be at your best.”
After a slow start, the doubters who questioned whether Manly’s thumping win against Gold Coast was a fluke must have been smiling. That’s when Trjobevic and Cherry-Evans flicked a switch.
In the next 117 seconds, the latter had a double: the first try created by Josh Schuster, the second by Trbjoevic.
Trbojevic then split the line in the lead-up to Martin Taupau’s try, which completed Manly’s run of 18 unanswered points inside the five minutes before the break.
The Tigers were stunned. They never recovered. As the Tigers capitulated, Manly accelerated.
Trbojevic was taken from the field with 20 to play. His job was done. The task in front of Maguire is far from complete.
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“He sees his place really well. He’s a really good user of the football for such a big man. He’s very creative.
“He sees the game so well, particularly where the ground starts to narrow into the goals where there’s less space and more opposition players he has a great knack of finding teammates. He finds satisfaction in it, which makes it easy for me to coach.”
Goalkicking guru Matthew Lloyd envisages how Hawkins and Cameron might pair their strengths. “Cameron’s been a wonderful player, the best forward the Giants have ever had,” he said. “But I don’t see him as the No.1 forward.
“[You want to] let him run and rove. That’s his biggest strength. He’s so good at ground level. He’s so good kicking from 45-50 metres out, whereas Tom’s best place is close to goal.
“Cameron was at his best in his early years at the Giants when he used to get up the field, and work his way back towards goal. So they complement each other really well, with Hawkins being that hulking player 0-25 metres out from goal and Cameron a little bit higher and working back towards goal.
“They’ll both enjoy not always getting the No.1 defender. They’ll both enjoy not being relied upon as the sole No.1 at their respective clubs for the last decade.
“And they’re both beautiful kicks, field kicks too. It may take some time, but I think they’ll use each other well, in general play as well.
“They’re so different as players. It’s like Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch. They work for each other, and I think that’s what Hawkins and Cameron will do as well.”
But Lloyd cautioned against expectations of instant alchemy. At Essendon, he had to learn the moves and idiosyncrasies not just of partner Scott Lucas, but players further afield. “I knew they kicked the ball in different ways, liked to deliver it in different ways,” he said. “Some like to dart the ball in fast. ‘Longy’ [Michael Long] just loved to sit it out in front of you, to run onto it.
“Lucas would roll onto his left, [James] Hird would roll onto his right. There are nuances. It does take some time. You have to get your timing right.”
Of course, there are many moving parts besides Cameron and Hawkins. There is the difference in style between the Giants’ game and Geelong’s and the difference in the way footy is being played between last year and this. It’s benefiting tall forwards, but will two be too much of a good thing?
There are also 34 other players out there. “It’s not as simple as go here, go there. Chemistry with the rest of the team is important,” said Enright.
Cameron’s unscheduled extra time out at least will have given him and the Cats extra time to work on the theory. On Saturday comes the practice.
Scott is less concerned with how the parts fit together than their sum. “I think the best forward lines in history in the best teams have been really cohesive and Tom has proven himself to be a very unselfish forward,” said Scott. “Even when he kicks a lot of goals in seasons, he is always high for assists as well.
“I guess if I could have my way, one would be kicking it to the other a fair bit.”
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He might not have played at fullback under Dave Rennie, but Jordan Petaia shapes a possible solution for the Wallabies in the No.15 jersey in the years to come.
Petaia and Brumbies flyer Tom Wright have both impressed Rennie out wide and the duo are both being considered as possible solutions to fill the void left by Israel Folau.
Even before Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia there was debate about whether he should be played at fullback or the wing, but it’s long been a position the Wallabies haven’t nailed since Chris Latham and Matthew Burke wore the jersey.
Kurtley Beale at times looked like a world beater in the position and was nominated as World Rugby player of the year in 2010 when occupying the role.
But his flaws under the high ball meant he shifted in and out of the role throughout his career.
In 2020 Rennie used Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty and Reece Hodge in the role, but none of the trio nailed the positions.
With Hodge set to miss up to 10 weeks on action after suffering a knee-injury and Dane Haylett-Petty still out with concussion issues, it leaves just Banks as the only fit and healthy options.
Banks has once again found form in Super Rugby and showed his pace over the past month after finally stretching out, but after a solid display against the All Blacks in Wellington last year failed to own the jersey in the matches to come.
While Banks ticks the boxes with his kicking game, the concern with the Brumbies fullback is his lack of ball-playing, particularly if the Wallabies aren’t playing Matt To’omua at inside centre, and his use of footwork. Banks is an out-and-out gas merchant and beats opponents with space, but in Test rugby it’s not as loose.
Enter Petaia and Wright.
Both men have excellent footwork and while their kicking games are still far from international standard, as is Petaia’s passing game, their work in the air, confidence with ball-in-hand and ability to beat players one-on-one is compelling.
Speaking from the Wallabies’ camp in Sydney, Rennie said the fullback position, as well as at hooker, were the two positions of most concern.
“Fullback’s probably a position that’s thin for us,” Rennie admitted.
“Obviously Tom’s here, we brought Hodgey in, he’s a utility who can play 15, but that’s a position that someone could make a statement in the next nine weeks.”
Ever since arriving as Wallabies coach, Rennie has demanded his backs improve their kicking.
Petaia, as well as teammate Hunter Paisami, have heeded the feedback and have been paying money from their own pay cheques to kicking supremo Dave Alred, who was Jonny Wilkinson’s kicking coach and is also working with James O’Connor, three times a week to improve.
Petaia’s match-turning 50-22 against the Brumbies didn’t go unnoticed either by Rennie and the Wallabies’ selectors are keen to see the 21-year-old spend more time in the position after struggling in the midfield since the World Cup.
“He’s probably played his best footy on the wing/fullback,” Rennie said.
“He’s a player who could play any of those couldn’t he?
“I thought he was really strong over the weekend – his best game this year.
“Certainly he’s working really hard on his kicking game and good to see that over the weekend. A pretty pivotal moment when he does the old 50/22 and a few phases later he ends up scoring off that, so we’re certainly putting emphasis on our wingers being able to kick the ball because it then allows us to play wide and still kick from out there which manipulates the shape of their back three, so he becomes a strong option based on that.”
Rennie had four uncapped hookers in his squad and declared the position “wide open”.
In other news, The Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika have been granted conditional licences for entry into the Super Rugby competition in 2022.
World Rugby last month pledged a $2.16 million annual package to guide the teams through their first three years in the competition and New Zealand Rugby has now deemed the expansion to a 12-team competition viable, pending final business plan approval on June 30.
After allowing NZR to drive the efforts last year to bring the two new Pacific sides into Super Rugby, Rugby Australia supported the move.
“We look forward to continuing our engagement with NZR on this process as we plan towards 2022,” RA CEO Andy Marinos said.
“Once further conditions around the licences have been met, we look forward to formalising the composition of the teams in what will hopefully prove a new dawn for Rugby in the region.”
It’s not quite right to say that normal service was resumed as the County Championship returned to the English cricketing menu for the first time in 18 months – as no spectators were allowed in to watch it.
But at least it all began bang on time this year after the sad loss of four months of the Covid19-hit 2020 season.
And the 2021 campaign started in style too, with four centurions – two of them, James Vince, and Tom Alsop, helping Hampshire to pile up 431-4 on the road against Leicestershire.
Vince carried on his victorious form with Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash down under, at more than a run a ball.
He was still there at the close on 168 off 167 deliveries, after sharing a 224-run fourth-wicket stand with Alsop, who made a comparatively more leisurely 119.
Another Tom in form was Sussex’s Tom Haines, with a superb career-best 155 to help his side recover from 127-6 to reach 293-9 in Manchester against Lancashire.
But the first centurion of the four first-day musketeers was Middlesex’s Sam Robson, with 165 out of 293-8 against successive red-ball runners-up Somerset.
And there looks likely to be a fifth centurion early on day two, yet another Tom, if Essex’s Tom Westley, 84 overnight, can go on to reach three figures against Worcestershire.
He might already be there, in fact, if it had not been for a bit of bad weather at Chelmsford – and an early finish.
The Tom Tom Toms were hardly beating too loudly when six of the nine captains chose to field after winning the toss.
Only Essex, Hampshire and Sussex won the toss and chose to bat – but all three had no cause to regret that by the end of a busy first day.
Although Essex lost former England captain Alastair Cook cheaply, Dan Lawrence returned from his winter England adventures in the sub-continent with 46 to help Westley steer the hosts to 207-3 against labouring Worcestershire.
Durham were aided by half-centuries from opener Alex Lees (58) and new boy David Bedingham (57) as they batted out the day at Trent Bridge to make a dogged 241-7 against Nottinghamshire.
In the other Group One opener, Liam Norwell starred with 5-32 as much-fancied Warwickshire bowled out Derbyshire for 189.
While Hampshire dominated in Group Two against hapless Leicestershire, scoring at four and a half an over, Somerset battled back well at Lord’s against Middlesex.
The hosts looked well set at 218-4, but Lewis Gregory took three of his four wickets to help stem the tide, backed by Josh Davey (2-62), one for Craig Overton and one for England spinner Jack Leach.
Robson survived two early chances to post his highest red-ball score in five years – since a career-best double hundred in the 2016 season opener against Warwickshire.
In the other Group Two game, despite being deprived of a meeting between West Indies team-mates Kraigg Brathwaite and Kemar Roach by Covid quarantine protocol, there was plenty to admire.
In the 70 overs possible, Gloucestershire seamers Josh Shaw (4-48), Ryan Higgins (3-35) and David Payne (2-49) helped limit Surrey to 220-9, of which Hashim Amla made 56.
Centurion Haines made Lancashire pay for three dropped catches to post the third ton of his first-class career as Sussex rallied from 40-4 to reach 291-9.
Across the Pennines in Leeds, Yorkshire were also on the wrong end of a fightback as half-centuries by Timm van der Gugten (80 not out), Dan Douthwaite (57) and Kiran Carlson (55) helped Glamorgan fight back from 132-7 to close on 310-8.
In only the second professional meeting between himself and elder brother Joe, Billy Root contributed a steadfast 43, while Michael Hogan weighed in with a breezy unbeaten 40 off 41 balls late in the day.
Kent also had three half-centurions in reaching 309-7 against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road – Ollie Robinson (84), Jack Leaning (79), and Jordan Cox (62).
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