BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer With its goal of an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I playoff berth slipping away, the Keyport High School field hockey team went 4-1-1 over its last six matches to raise its record to 9-8-2 and qualify for the postseason. The Red Raiders clinched the playoff berth Thursday with a 5-0 win over Long Branch with link Jamie Boyce leading the way with two goals and a pair of assists. On one play, Boyce blasted a shot and the ball split in two. “It was incredible,” Keyport coach Sal Principe said. “About a quarter of the ball split off, but the other three-fourths went into the net and the officials ruled it a goal.” The victory was the high point of the run, which began after a disappointing 4-0 to Henry Hudson left the Red Raiders at 5-7-1. Keyport’s recovery included a 2-2 tie against a strong Monmouth Regional squad and shutouts against Neptune and Long Branch. It was fitting that Boyce should come up big down the stretch. The senior combines with Kaitlin McCann to control the middle for a team that is better than its record might indicate. In addition, Boyce leads the team with 12 goals and 11 assists. “We’ve been inconsistent at times,” Principe said. “But you have to remember this is a young team — we only have five seniors, and they have stepped up. The other girls are all talented and they’re learning; it just takes time to adjust to playing at the varsity level.” It seems the adjustment has come at the right time. Sophomores Lauren Lewis and Amanda Stumpf, as well as freshman Jenna Stumpf, have all scored important goals; and the other link, sophomore Roxana Varay, is playing well. In addition, Principe noted that sophs Jillian Crane and Brittany Quinn, both forwards a year ago, moved to defense this fall where they have excelled. And the goaltending tandem of sophomore Megan Flynn and freshman Kelly Biechler has been up to the task. The coach noted that McCann and fellow senior Amanda Ries, the sweeper, have also been defensive stalwarts, and senior forward Stephanie Arroyo provides speed up front. Principe said that the playoffs would not start prior to Nov. 6. In the meantime, the Red Raiders were set to close out the season on Monday against Howell, and will play an alumni game, against former Keyport players, probably on Saturday. Notes… Nobody around the Shore Conference was surprised to see Middletown North, Shore Regional, RBC and Manasquan advance to the SCT semifinals. Those four teams were set to resume SCT play on Monday, with the winners to advance to today’s final at Long Branch High School. The real surprise came on Saturday, when the Blue Devils dropped their first game of the season to St. John Vianney, 3-1.Shore scored first on a Meredith Corradino goal at the 27:12 mark, but Vianney responded just 37 seconds later when Kacie Gailbreath scored on a penalty stroke. Lauren Galladay then gave the Lancers (7-6-1) the lead in the 37th minute, and Alex Mevs added the third goal just 30 seconds later to give the Lancers the winning margin. The win is a big one for the Lancers, who were looking to make a statement entering the state playoffs by simply playing well against the Shore’s top program. However, with a win over the 14-1 Blue Devils, they did much more than that. They established themselves as a threat. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2179, 1 Veterans Lane, Port Monmouth section of Middletown, will hold a pro wrestling fundraiser March 10 at 7:45 p.m. National Wrestling Superstars will stage the event, with proceeds benefiting the Disabled Firefighters Fund. Participating will be Danny Doring, Simon Diamond, Spike Dudley, and other wrestlers. Tickets are $18, and $15 for children and seniors. Tickets are available locally at Garden State Dollar Store, Port Monmouth; Lunney’s Market, North Middletown; Natural Mane Hair Cutters, Middletown; Tara’s Cards & Gifts, Cliffwood section of Aberdeen; Hazlet Vacuum; P & P Lunch, Holmdel; and Trading Hut Army & Navy, Keyport. For more information, call (732) 888-1704. The Princeton Youth Hockey Association (PYHA) is holding tryouts for the 2006 travel season. The season starts around Sept. 1, and registration is open to players whose birth years are between 1988 and 2001. Tryouts will be held April 6 and 11 at the historic Baker Rink on the Princeton University Campus. They offer first-rate coaches and a competitive program that focuses on player development while promoting team building skills. For more information, visit www.princetonyouthhockey.org or contact the registrar via e-mail at [email protected] The Hazlet United Soccer Association’s U8 Strikers recreation all-star team competed in its first league this winter at Tab Ramos Sports Center in Aberdeen. The team was led by goalie Junior Koempel, who averaged a goal per game against the top travel teams from around the state. Strong defense came from Bo Bentley and Jordan Robinson, while great skills from Zak Bent and Jordan Sawaged helped get the ball to forwards Max Alen and Johnny Helmus. Strikers Joey Koempel and Alec Fortune also starred for the United. The coaches are Vito Koempel and Kenny Bent. The following are the standings for the Monmouth Women’s Basketball League: Lincroft Home Center16-1 Chubby’s Bar12-5 Maroon Team11-6 McDonagh’s Pub8-9 CanineCamp USA7-6 Repairpro.com4-13 Huddy’s Inn/White Rose4-13 Blue Team3-14 A new modified Middletown night softball league is being formed. Anyone interested, call (732) 787-7025 or (732) 266-6056 Sophomore Chris Swensen (of Aberdeen,/St. John Vianney) of the Muhlenberg College wrestling team contributed to the team’s successful season. Wrestling at heavyweight, Swensen picked up four victories, doubling his total as a freshman. Muhlenberg finished 8-4 overall, and 5-2 in the Centennial Conference. The Mules finished third at the CC Championships, their best finish in four years. Matawan-Aberdeen Pop Warner Huskies will hold registration on March 11, April 1 and May 13 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Matawan Regional High School gym. The Hazlet Youth Athletic League will hold open registrations for its Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading program March 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Raritan High School cafeteria. The birthday cutoff is Aug. 1. The registration fee for the flag program (5- and 6-year-olds) is $60. The fees for the Pop Warner football and cheerleading program are $115 for one child, $175 for two, and $235 for three or more family members. To register, bring the child’s original birth certificate plus a copy of the birth certificate. In addition to the registration fees, registrants must bring checks for a uniform deposit, a work deposit and the mandatory fundraiser raffle. New registrations must provide proof of residency. For further information, call (732) 264-3060, ext. 4. The Central New Jersey Hot Shots U17 girls travel soccer team is looking for additional, dedicated players to join the team this spring season. The team competes in the MAPS league and will play in many college showcase tournaments. For additional information, call Brad Caruso at (732) 397-2746 or e-mail coach Brad at [email protected] The Lincroft Knights, a U11 boys travel team, is seeking competitive players for a travel team on Sundays. Player must be born after April 30, 1994. Season begins in April. For more info call (732) 530-7305 or e-mail [email protected] Players from all towns are welcome. The Husky Soccer Association will be accepting registration for its 3-vs.-3 Outdoor Soccer League. The cost for the eight-week program is $35 for an individual, $65 for two members of a family, and $100 for a family of three or more. The league is open to all children presently in kindergarten through adults. The games will be played on Sundays for the months of April, May and June at Matawan Regional High School’s soccer fields. Registration will be accepted on an individual basis; no team registrations. For more information, call Art Perri at (732) 566-0154 or e-mail [email protected] The Jersey Shore Breeze, an 11-and-under travel baseball team centrally located in Monmouth County currently has one roster position open. The 2006 season will include a full spring and tournament schedule. Infielder/pitcher preferred Date of birth must be May 1, 1994 or later. For more information please email us at [email protected]
Seven returning senior starters will lead the Matawan High School football team into the season opener at Keyport on Sept. 13. The Huskies will be looking to make their mark against a usually strong Keyport team as Matawan seeks a good start to help it upgrade last season’s 4-6 mark. “We have a lot of experience back, particularly on offense,” said Huskies coach Joe Martucci. “We were a pretty young team last season, so we’re expecting that the experience our guys gained will help us this year. I certainly expect that we’ll be a much better team.” Key returnees include wide receiver/ defensive back Kyle Hardy (6-3, 180). Sure-handed and quick, Hardy has caught more than 30 passes each of the past two seasons. A dangerous open-field runner, Hardy has returned five kick-offs for touchdowns. He’s also intercepted nine passes during his career. Junior quarterback Jared Allison (5- 7, 165), who threw for more than 800 yards a year ago, will be looking to hook up regularly with Hardy while running Matawan’s one- and two-back I-formation. Nathan King (6-0, 210) gives the Huskies a solid runner at tailback, where he gained over 500 yards last fall. “We think that we’ll be able to put some points up on the scoreboard,” Martucci said. “Our offensive is very talented and it can be explosive.” Kyle Robinson (6-1, 180), who started last season, is the other wide receiver. Juniors Danny Fiero and Tyrone Smith as well as sophomores John Short and John Smith (6-4, 185) are the other pass catchers. Allen Sparks (6-4, 195) and Jamel Sims (6-2, 220) are the tight ends. Joining King in the backfield are junior fullbacks Dylan Rayes (5-8, 190), James Burlew (6-0, 190) and Tom Cleary (5-11, 185) and speedy sophomore MacArthur Underwood. Chris Howley (6-2, 270) will again anchor the line from his center position. Chris Simon (6-0, 230), who also started last year, will also play the line. Xavier Raddan (6-2, 270) junior Derek Garland (5-11, 245) and sophomore Andre Hodge (5-11, 205) start as well. Garland, Neal, Simon, Sims and Sparks will man the defensive line in Matawan’s 4-3, cover-2 defensive set. Sophomore Dave Incle (6-0, 195), who led the Huskies in tackles as a freshman, spearheads a deep linebacking corps that also includes Burlew, Cleary, King, Neal and Rayes. In the secondary, Hardy’s presence is something that opposing signal-callers will need to be wary of. The defensive backfield also includes Robinson, Allison, Smith and sophomore Jordan Long. “We have good team speed and quickness, and that will definitely help our defense,” Martucci said. “We do have several players playing offense and defense, but we have some depth and we’ll work to keep everyone fresh.” The Huskies are also expecting to have a strong kicking game. Junior kicker Sean Gleason showed plenty of promise a year ago booting extra points and field goals, including a 42-yarder. He will also handle the kickoffs. Vega and Robinson are the punters, and Vega can also do some placekicking. “Good kicking is a plus for your special teams,” the coach said. “Our special teams did pretty well last year, and we’re looking for that to continue.” The Sports Department can be reached at [email protected] BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer Allison, King look to be offensive leaders for Matawan in ’08
Many of the area’s basketball standouts and best teams will be on display on Jan. 14-15 at the Boardwalk Hoop Group ShowcaseLong Branch High School in Long Branch will host 10 games (five games each day). Most of the boys and girls teams that will be competing are ranked among the top 25 teams in the state by NJ Hoops.Among the boys teams that will be playing, Colts Neck, Jackson Memorial and Middletown North are ranked 17, 18 and 19, respectively, in New Jersey.Among the girls teams that will be playing, Red Bank Catholic is No. 6, St. John Vianney isNo. 8, Jackson Memorial is No. 12 and Rumson Fair Haven Regional is No. 14.All of those teams will be in action this week, as will some of the Shore Conference’s premier players like Raritan’s Chris Aaman, who has committed to Wagner College, and Middletown North’s Jason Huelbig, who is headed to Assumption, and uncommitted standouts like Colts Neck’s Hunter Wysocki and Sean O’Reilly, Jackson Memorial’s Brandon McDonnell and Brian Kenny, Christian Brothers Academy’s Eric Shaw, and Middletown North’s Greg Youncofski.The top girls players will include Annette Snow from BlairAcademy and Tiffany Montagne from Jackson Memorial. Snow, who lives in Freehold Township, transferred to Blair Academy two years ago. She will continue her basketball career at Lafayette.Red Bank Catholic’s Caroline Corcoran and Jackson Memorial’s Stephanie Mason are juniors who excel on their teams. Future stars such as St. John Vianney’s Katie Beriont and Rumson-Fair Haven’s Grace Stant will be showcased, too.The action will begin at noon Jan. 14 with coach Lou Piccola’s Colts Neck Cougars taking on Lakewood, which is ranked No. 23 in the state.At 1:40 p.m. there will be another Monmouth County vs. Ocean County contest with Middletown North facing Jackson Memorial.CBA will play Point Pleasant Beach at 3:20 p.m., Raritan will face Neptune at 5 p.m., and the evening will conclude with Manasquan meeting host Long Branch.The girls will take center stage on Jan. 15, tipping off at noon with a game between traditional Shore Conference and state powers Neptune and Rumson.That game will be followed by Blair Academy going up against St. John Vianney, the state’s marquee girls program, at 1:40 p.m. Point Pleasant Borough and St. Rose will play at 3:20 p.m..The feature game of the day will tip off at 5 p.m. as national power Christ the King of New York City meets New Jersey’s No. 1 ranked team, Manasquan, which has, perhaps, the state’s top player in Michaela Mabrey.The evening will conclude with another Monmouth County vs. Ocean County contest as RBC squares off against Jackson Memorial.Advance tickets are available by going to HoopGroup.com.
Junior forward Jason Huelbig’s thundering dunk in the Drew University men’s basketball game against No. 15 Amherst College on Dec. 30 has been selected as the ECAC Division III Basketball Play of the Week.With 12:19 remaining in the game, Huelbig received a pass at the top of the three-point arc. The versatile junior from Middletown drove into the paint, where a 6- 8 Amherst center was waiting. Both players leaped, but it was Huelbig who came out on top by throwing down a monstrous slam and picking up the foul in the process. The dunk sent the Baldwin Gymnasium crowd into a frenzy and gave the Rangers a 47-40 lead against the nationally ranked Lord Jeffs.“He blocked me on my last shot, so I didn’t think he would expect it,” Huelbig said of the Amherst center. “I knew I wanted to finish strong. It was definitely a momentum shifting play; sometimes you have to do something to spark everyone. I’ve never heard this gym sound like that before after the play was over.”Huelbig’s dunk was one of eight nominees from all three of the NCAA’s divisions. The ECAC selects a winner based on the number of retweets on Twitter, and Huelbig’s video clip was the most played and retweeted of all eight nominees.The Rangers would end up falling to Amherst 78-74 after a Lord Jeffs three-point flurry late in the game. Drew would rebound with a Landmark Conference victory over Juniata on Saturday to remain perfect at 3-0 in the league. The Rangers are 7-4 overall.Huelbig is averaging 10.5 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game for Drew this winter.A graduate of Middletown North High School, Huelbig led the Lions to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III championship his senior year.
By Nemanja BjedovAPOLLON and APOEL turn their focus to the national championship on Monday after their Europa League exploits on Thursday night.The Limassol side secured a goalless stalemate against Italian giants Lazio, while Cyprus champions APOEL had their hearts broken in the last minute as they fell to a 2-1 loss in Bordeaux.“It was a very difficult game against the best team in our group, said Apollon coach Christakis Christoforou.“There were occasional chances at both ends and possession alternated throughout. I think that my players did well and that we have deserved this result,” he added.“I would like to thank our fans and sometimes I wonder if we would be able to do so well without them.”Apollon still have reasonable chance of reaching the knock-out stage of Europa League, but they will have to do well in the remaining two games away from home against both Lazio and Trabzonspor, while Legia arrives to Cyprus.“Our objective remains the same. We are in this competition for experience; however, the treasurer of the club must be the happiest person since in these difficult financial times we got him another hundred thousand euros. Throughout these games we want to get better and try to push for the best results locally, but we do not plan to give up ahead of time when we visit Rome and Trabzon,” Christoforou concluded.Both Apollon and APOEL will play their national championship Round 7 games on Monday night when the ruling champions host the league leaders Anorthosis in what should be the most interesting match of the round, while Christoforou’s men visit Ethnikos in Achna.Elsewhere, in Round 7 opener, on Saturday afternoon at 5pm, AEK Kouklion face Alki, while an hour later AEK take on Nea Salamina at the GSZ Stadium in Larnaca in what is a minor city derby.Toni Savevski’s Omonia will be looking to record their third consecutive victory when they meet Doxa Katokopia away from home.On Sunday afternoon at 5pm, Enosis Neon Paralimni, who are still winless this season, face in-form Ermis Aradippou, while at 6pm at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol AEL take on Aris in another city derby.
By Toby DavisRIDING the wave of a five-match winning streak, Chelsea face Manchester United on Sunday with a chance to reinforce their own Premier League credentials and read the last rites to their opponents’ title defence.Jose Mourinho’s battles with Manchester United in his first stint as manager were frequently billed as decisive skirmishes in the title race, but this encounter will lack that extra edge.Chelsea are in the slipstream of leaders Arsenal, who host Fulham on Saturday, and second-placed Manchester City, who entertain Cardiff City, but United are way off the pace.Eleven points separate David Moyes’ side from the summit and defeat would effectively end any lingering hopes they have that a strong run-in could propel them into contention.Perhaps more pressing, however, is the fact that a reverse could leave United eight points adrift of fourth place and Champions League qualification if Liverpool beat Aston Villa on Saturday.In the run-up to the weekend’s standout fixture, the difference between the two protagonists has also been felt in the transfer market.Chelsea flexed their muscles by spending 21 million pounds on Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic while United continue to keep their powder dry with fans crying out for reinforcements, especially in midfield where they have lacked creativity.With striker Robin van Persie still out injured and Wayne Rooney’s involvement doubtful after returning from a warm-weather break planned to restore his fitness, United’s approach is likely to be focused on containment.Chelsea were cautious in the teams’ clash at Old Trafford in August, which finished in a goalless draw, but with Arsenal and Manchester City both at home this weekend, dropped points could see them hand the initiative to their rivals.Arsenal will look to make the most of any Chelsea slip-up and their manager Arsene Wenger said his side have the stomach for a title fight as they approach a period when they have frequently been found wanting.They capitulated in all competitions between December and February last season, but the current team are showing signs that they are made of sterner stuff and confidence is permeating through the squad.“We just look at ourselves and think we are good enough to respond to any challenge they give us,” defender Per Mertesacker said on the back of a resilient display in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Monday.Fulham are involved in a relegation battle but showed they are not without quality in a confident 3-0 win over Norwich City in the FA Cup on Tuesday.Manchester City will not need reminding about the danger of underestimating Cardiff after they lost 3-2 in Wales this season.Cardiff have since replaced manager Malky Mackay with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and although they are third from bottom they held Arsenal for 88 minutes at the Emirates Stadium on New Years’ Day before losing 2-0.City have won their last six league games, averaging three goals a match and beating Blackburn 5-0 in an FA Cup replay on Wednesday, and their form has prompted manager Manuel Pellegrini to target a quadruple trophy haul.“It’s difficult (to win all four) but we’ll try,” he said.“That’s why nobody has done it before. But I think we must have the mentality to try to do it.”Liverpool can maintain their faint title hopes if they can make it three successive Premier League wins at home toAston Villa.They welcomed back striker Daniel Sturridge against Stoke City last weekend and reunited him with the prolific Luis Suarez, who notched his 21st and 22nd goals of the season in a 5-3 win.Tottenham Hotspur, in sixth, visit Swansea City on Sunday and Everton, who are fifth, have to wait until Monday to face West Bromwich Albion.
Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday after a duel with Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg in a floodlit night race full of overtaking and wheel-to-wheel battles.The win – in Formula One’s 900th grand prix – was the Briton’s second in a row, the 24th of his career and also a second successive one-two for a team in a class of their own and with two drivers free to race each other from start to finish.Mercedes have now won all three races so far in 2014.“Nico drove fantastically well throughout the race. It was very, very hard to keep him behind me,” smiled Hamilton, the 2008 world champion who last enjoyed back-to-back wins four years ago with McLaren.“I was on the knife edge the whole time and a real relief when I got across the line,” said the Briton, who won by 1.085 seconds and described the race as the hardest since his 2007 debut season.Mexican Sergio Perez took third place – 22.9 seconds behind Rosberg – as Mercedes-powered Force India celebrated the second podium finish in their history.Rosberg, winner of the season-opener in Australia, stayed top of the overall standings with 61 points to Hamilton’s 50.“I strongly dislike coming second to Lewis…but it was definitely the most exciting race I have ever done in my entire career,” said the German, who had started on pole and whose disappointment was clear as he stood on the podium.“I think today was a day for the sport.”TAXI DRIVERSHamilton, whose tally of wins pulls him level with the late Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio in the all-time lists, made the better start from second place on the grid and led into the first corner.He was never able to shake off Rosberg though, with both jostling for the lead in a race that made a mockery of suggestions the new V6 turbo hybrid era had turned flat-out racers into fuel-saving taxi drivers.“Warn him that was not on,” Rosberg shouted over the radio after one attempt to get past Hamilton on the inside saw the German forced to run wide.The Briton’s task was made tougher when the safety car came out 15 laps from the end, after Pastor Maldonado T-boned the Sauber of Mexican Esteban Gutierrez at turn one and flipped it spectacularly through the air.Venezuelan Maldonado was handed a stop/go penalty and a five place grid drop for the next race in China, while Gutierrez went to hospital for checks and was then released.With Rosberg on the faster, soft tyres and ready to pounce as soon as racing resumed, it looked like Hamilton was sure to be passed but he held on for what amounted to a dash to the chequered flag.“With 10 laps to race, can we just make sure we bring both cars home,” technical head Paddy Lowe told both drivers over the radio and they did so but not without some heartstopping moments.“I was just pushing to the limit, going for it and just making sure we don’t crash,” said Rosberg. “At no time were we at risk of taking both cars out. There was always the necessary margin…it was good racing.”Behind them, the rest of the field was fighting similar battles with team mates running in close two-by-two formation and scrapping for position.FERRARI FLOPAustralian Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth, despite starting 13th and behind quadruple champion team mate Sebastian Vettel, who ended up sixth and had to let his young team mate through early on.Nico Hulkenberg split the two Red Bulls in fifth place, and held up Ricciardo for long enough to ensure Perez’s podium, with Williams team mates Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas seventh and eighth.“One more lap and I couldn’t manage to keep him back,” Perez said of Ricciardo’s charge behind him.Ferrari’s pairing of past champions, Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, rounded off the scoring positions in ninth and 10th on a dismal evening for the Italian team watched by their president Luca di Montezemolo.McLaren, half owned by Bahrain state investment fund Mumtalakat, failed to get either of their cars to the finish of the country’s 10th anniversary grand prix which was being held under floodlights for the first time.Organisers said the race had drawn its biggest ever crowd, with 31,000 attending on Sunday.They were untroubled by any protests in a country that has suffered sporadic unrest since an uprising led by its Shi’ite Muslim community in early 2011 demanded reforms and a bigger share of power in the Sunni-led government.A handful of youths in the Shi’ite village of Eker burned tyres and threw rocks at police who responded by firing a few rounds of tear gas, Reuters witnesses said. The youths quickly dispersed after that.Bahraini activists reported similar sporadic unrest in other areas with dozens of protesters marching inside villages and others throwing rocks at police who seemed to effectively block off the main entrances to the villages.A small explosion was also heard in the centre of the capital Manama, although the cause was not immediately clear and there were no reports of casualties.
Kangaroos and Origin stars including Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Blake Ferguson, Sam Thaiday, Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai and Jack Bird headline a team including some of the best upcoming talent and future rep stars in a side that is ‘All-Star’ in far more than just name.”It’s a great team – this is probably the strongest side we’ve had,” Daley said at the team announcement at Rugby League Central on Wednesday morning.”It’s an international-looking backline then you’ve got some up and coming young forwards, a couple of older guys there and all those young talented guys like Latrell Mitchell on the interchange bench. They’ll be looking for an opportunity and it’s exciting for us,” he added.Like his Cronulla teammate Wade Graham did last year, Sharks and Blues youngster Jack Bird will be looking to find out more about his own Indigenous background in the week leading up to the match, which will be held in Newcastle – the first time the fixture has been taken out of Queensland.”I think it’s great. There’s no need to hide from [their background], those guys, they learn a lot about culture and history when they come into the camp,” Daley said.”It’s spoken about a lot and it’s great that young guys feel like they can identify now rather than sort of not feeling confident to do it.”Indigenous All Stars stalwart Joel Thompson, one of the game’s real off-field leaders when it comes to community and Indigenous issues, also praised the strength of the side and the experience of the week.”It’s a great side; to have ‘JT’ (Thurston) back in the side, one of the best players to have played the game and across the paddock it’s a really good side and the All Stars side is a strong side as well so it should be a really good game,” Thompson said.”I love what I do. I’m in a privileged position being a rugby league player and I think it’s for me now and other players to be that role model and help the rest of the community up and do what we do.”This week in Newcastle will be a powerful week to get some strong messages across to the community and the kids. It’s hard to put into words the effect it does have out there.”It’s a great week not just for the game but what we do in the community and it’s a massive honour to be in this position.”The only contentious selection in the Indigenous side was that of Sharks prop Andrew Fifita, who was this week handed a breach notice by the NRL “relating to his on-field support for a convicted criminal during the Telstra Premiership”, in relation to his public support for coward-punch killer Kieran Loveridge. “It’s an interesting one; he’s been issued a [breach] notice but I think as far as what the selection criteria is, he was available for selection so the fans have picked him and he’s been included,” Daley said.”I’ve coached him before and certainly had no issues with him and while he’s available for selection he’s always proud and loves playing in this game… it will all depend on what the breach notice says [and] whether he’s looking at missing games or not, I’m not quite sure but he has been selected.”
The eight: NCDC Vipers, Kroton Hela Wigmen, Agmark Rabaul Gurias, Reigning premiers Lae Snax Tigers, Bintangor Goroka Lahanis, Waghi Tumbe, PRK Mendi Muruks and EPG Enga Mioks.Chairman of the newly revamped PNG National Rugby League Competition, Adrian Chow said nine applications to participate were received.The application from the Mt Hagen Eagles was rejected. “The Executive Management Board considered all the applications thoroughly and did not accept the Eagles application because it is determined to manage a national competition free of violence.“This objective is to rid violence completely from the sport and is supported by all stakeholders,” said Chow.He added the new look PNG – NRLC is sending a strong message to everyone that violence in sport will not be tolerated.He said no applications were received from Gulf Isapea and Simbu Lions.“The Board offered an extension of time to them but no response was received hence they won’t be participating this season,” said Chow.Chow explained there will be 14 rounds of home and away games.“The competition kicks off this weekend and after 14 rounds of home and away games, only the top four will proceed to a three week finals series,” said Chow.