coaching staff – Michmutters

NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo Bulldogs coach, pundits react, Bulldogs roster, Who is the Bulldogs coach?, Matt Burton contract, player signings

Rugby league legend Mark Geyer has made a bold prediction following the Bulldogs’ appointment of rookie coach Cameron Ciraldo — while Fox League’s Andrew Voss is concerned the club’s “gamble” could backfire.

Ciraldo inked a five-year contract to join the Belmore club from 2023 onwards in a deal reportedly worth around $800,000-per-season.

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The 38-year-old was the hottest property on the coaching market following the axing of multiple coaches including Trent Barrett, but in the end NRL supremo Phil Gould got his man.

Ciraldo has been Ivan Cleary’s assistant for several years and former Panther Mark Geyer believes his appointment means Matt Burton’s tenure with the Bulldogs will almost certainly extend past 2023 after knocking back his player option for 2024.

“He’ll be the youngest coach in the NRL, 38-years of age and signs a five-year deal as I said it’s a major coup, but what it does is makes Matt Burton, now his signature will be a lot longer, he’ll sign on for longer,” Geyer said on Triple M.

“That means that Kikau won’t get cold feet, it means Reed Mahoney won’t get cold feet, the Fox (Josh Addo Carr).

“It’s a massive signing, a lot of people will be saying look he hasn’t done much but, he’s been an assistant coach but what he’s done is he’s very articulate in the way he prepares.”

Geyer also believes the Bulldogs are set for a “special” rebuild, going as far to say they could be premiership contenders within five years.

“It’s all about the team with Cameron Ciraldo it’s never about him so I think this is a major, major boost for the Bulldogs in the next five years,” he said.

“Cameron Ciraldo will, I’m not going to say it but they’re going to do something special in five years but they’re going to be close I would say.

“I reckon they’re going to be close to pulling off the biggest prize of all within five years.”

The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield echoed Geyer’s remarks — but explained assistants who have been mentored by elite coaches don’t always become successful bosses themselves.

“At 38 he’ll be the youngest coach in the NRL but a terrific talent, he’s been a great right hand man for Ivan Cleary at the Panthers with all their success in recent years,” Rothfield said on the Big Sports Breakfast.

“He’s their minister for defense there, he’s the one who designed all the strategies to keep their line intact which has been so outstanding in recent times.

“Look the only thing I will say is just because you’re out of a Penrith system or Melbourne system it doesn’t automatically make you a great coach.

“I wrote this morning about Trent Barrett only having a 40 per cent win record despite the rap on ‘Baz’ (Barrett) when he came out of Penrith and Garth Brennan too.

“You look at guys like Adam O’Brien who came out of Melbourne and had a year under Trent Robinson.

“It doesn’t mean you’re going to be an immediate success but I’ve got this feeling that Cameron Ciraldo will prove that theory wrong, he’s got what it takes.

“I think it’s enormous for Canterbury and that he knows the pathways so well at Penrith, he’s been there over a decade on their coaching staff.

“He knows how to bring young players through, I think it’s a huge move for the Bulldogs.

“Put them (Kikau and Mahoney) in with Matty Burton and the rest of the team I think they’re going to be a real top eight chance next year.”

While many are backing Ciraldo to be a success, rugby league commentator Andrew Voss stated he wouldn’t be “signing a rookie coach for five years”.

Five-year coaching contracts have in the past gone pear-shaped — Anthony Seibold’s short-lived Broncos deal being the most recent.

Voss explained there are only a handful of coaches across the league that could warrant the long-term contract signed by Ciraldo.

“Any five-year deal, there’s an element of a gamble in it, even with a player.”

“But five years for an untried coach?” Penrith Panthers legend Greg Alexander asked.

Voss continued: “What if they haven’t played finals in a couple of years? I think five years is too much.

“Five years for a rookie coach? Trying to think of a coach you’d sign for five years, I think you’ve got to have the runs on the board.

“(Craig) Bellamy, (Trent) Robinson, (Ivan) Cleary, I don’t think there’s too many more.

“I’m not signing a rookie coach for five years.

“But, I wish Cameron Ciraldo all the very best.”

Originally published as Why Phil Gould’s $4 million gamble on Cameron Ciraldo could backfire



South Sydney Rabbitohs, Latrell Mitchell, Matty Johns, premiership race, rugby league, New South Wales, Parramatta Eels, top four race

Matty Johns believes that South Sydney can “come from nowhere” to win the NRL premiership this season, but only if they address a potentially decisive part of their game.

South Sydney can move up to fifth on the ladder if they beat Parramatta in a crunch clash at CommBank Stadium on Friday night.

Both teams will be looking to keep their top four hopes alive with a win in the blockbuster, while the loser could risk dropping down the ladder.

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The Rabbitohs began their impressive run of form against Parramatta early last month, recording the first of four consecutive wins.

After wins over the struggling Newcastle Knights and Bulldogs, Souths made a statement with a 12-point win over the Melbourne Storm.

While they lost in golden point the week after against the Sharks, they bounced back with an emphatic win over the Warriors on the Sunshine Coast.

But not everyone is sold on their recent successes, with Matty Johns comparing the team to a “nice Sunday drive.”

“South Sydney, their recent performances remind me of someone taking a nice Sunday drive, and I mean that both in praise and criticism,” Johns said on SEN’s Morning Glory.

“Watching South Sydney, and I think it’s a bad practice, it’s something they’ve got to be really careful of, they’re lifting the intensity only when they think they need to.

“That’s a concern because intensity and focus and poise under pressure is not something you just reach for out of the kit bag and say ‘alright we’re gonna do it now’.

“Last week I was expecting a real statement game against the Warriors, and they delivered in the first-half. Their intent and their blueprint (on) how they played their best football was the evidence.

Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell has been in some sensational form for the Rabbitohs since returning from injury. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“But the second-half there was just no intensity in the contest… and I’m probably knit-picking a little bit because I do like to see coaches showing a range of emotions, but in that second-half when they were really wiping the floor with the Warriors, whenever they cut up to the coaches box the whole coaching staff were really pissing themselves laughing.

“That’s almost a little bit symbolic of where Souths are. It’s got to start tonight, they’ve got to start to lift and they’ve got to start to play with finals intensity football.”

Latrell Mitchell has been in sensational form for the Rabbitohs, after returning from an almost three month absence against the Eels.

Mitchell has had nine try assists since returning just over one month ago, as well as 33 tackle breaks and four tries.

While the Rabbitohs have largely reaped the rewards since he returned, although Johns issued the team with a warning.

“Latrell plays his best football when he’s relaxed. He’s come back from the States really relaxed, and his touch from him, the way he’s playing is just superb, but it does n’t mean that the rest of the side play their best relaxed, ”he added.

“At the moment there’s a reliance on ‘Trell will get it done’. When you’ve got players like Latrell Mitchell in your football side, they are the icing on the cake. They’re the one who can actually get it done for you.

“But you can’t rely on them. Even with Andrew Johns in our side, our forwards were tearing heads off, hitting the line that hard… If suddenly we went out there and say ‘Joey will get us home’, it just doesn’t happen.”

Storm sizzle poor Panthers | 02:01

Despite a tough run home, in which they play the Eels, Panthers, Cowboys and Roosters, Johns believes they can go all the way.

“The way they’re playing, that relaxed style, and the fact they’re playing within themselves and winning, well done to you boys. But they’re in a position, in my opinion, they can win this competition.

“They can come from nowhere and win this competition but they will not win it with the way they’re playing at the moment.

“It’s nothing about talent or anything like that, they’ve just got to develop, in the next few weeks, a really hard edge, and tonight’s a perfect opportunity.”



Kevin Durant trade news, ultimatum to Joe Tsai, reaction, updates, Brooklyn Nets, Ben Simmons

Things got ugly for Ben Simmons in Philadelphia and if Kevin Durant is not careful, he could be heading down a similar path in Brooklyn — if he is not already.

But could that be all part of the Nets superstar’s master plan?

Well, Durant certainly got the NBA world talking earlier in the week then he issued an ultimatum that left Nets owner Joseph Tsai in a tricky situation.

Durant, who requested a trade in June, reportedly told Tsai he needs to choose between the 12-time All-Star and the pairing of head coach Steve Nash and GM Sean Marks.

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A subsequent report from The New York Post laid out Durant’s specific grievances with the team, including a lack of consultation over the Nets’ firing of assistant coach and director of player development Adam Harrington.

But not everyone in the NBA world seems to think that Durant actually wants Nash or Marks fired from the organization.

That is certainly the opinion of Fox Sports’ Nick Wright, who said on ‘The Herd’ with Colin Cowherd that Durant’s ultimatum is all about achieving one “single goal”.

“I don’t think Kevin Durant actually wants those guys fired,” Wright said.

“I think he just wants to be traded. I think if he wanted Sean Marks and Steve Nash fired, he would have gone to Joe Tsai a month ago when he did the trade demand and quietly and privately said: ‘Listen, if you don’t fire these guys, I’m going to demand a trade’.

“I read this differently than most. I read this as Kevin Durant asking for something he knew he would not get in order to make it untenable for them to bring him back because he was starting to get concerned they were actually going to bring him back.

“This was him upping the ante to a level that is pretty unprecedented. It’s why I think Durant understood Joe Tsai is not going to do it and they also, I don’t believe, can ask Steve Nash to now coach Kevin Durant. I think it was a really smart move if his single goal is to be traded and I think that is his single goal.

Could Kevin Durant be heading down a similar path to Ben Simmons?  (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
Could Kevin Durant be heading down a similar path to Ben Simmons? (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

You see, it is not like Durant has much leverage in this situation, as NBA front office insider John Hollinger explained in a recent article for The Athletic.

Hollinger pointed towards two numbers in particular to prove that point — 34 and four — Durant’s age and how many years he has left on his contract.

“Throwing both his coach and GM under the bus — in many cases for moves that came with a wink and nod from Durant’s camp — certainly makes it less likely the Nets will find it tenable to reunite everyone in the fall,” Hollinger wrote.

“Of course, this gambit offers no guarantees. The trade offers in front of the Nets today aren’t any different from the ones they rejected yesterday, and it’s not clear how or if Durant’s latest demand will compel action.”

What it could do though is lead to a similar situation to the one Simmons found himself in Philadelphia last year, although there are a few key differences as Hollinger also pointed out.

“Seemingly the sharpest arrow left in Durant’s quiver is pure hardball: a holdout, one that would cost him a chunk of his $44 million 2022-23 salary for every day he sat out,” he wrote.

“It would, ironically, be a near carbon-copy of the situation a year ago in Philadelphia with Durant’s occasional teammate Ben Simmons.

“Here’s the thing: The Nets are working on a different timeline than the Sixers were.”

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Hollinger is right. Philadelphia had to move relatively fast to capitalize on Joel Embiid’s prime and as such was more inclined to reach a swift resolution in the Simmons drama.

The same cannot be said for the Nets though, as Hollinger argued.

“If anything, they would seem to have the opposite motivation,” he wrote.

“Yes, Brooklyn’s first choice would be to run it back with Durant, Simmons and Kyrie Irving (or a suitable replacement). But in the absence of Durant, wouldn’t the Nets’ second choice be to tank the season and try again in 2024? And wouldn’t a Durant holdout do anything more than accelerate the Nets toward that endgame?

“Brooklyn’s best-case scenario may be waiting until midseason, when this summer’s free agents are eligible to be dealt with. It seems less likely they’d let a year of Durant’s contract wither on the vine at his age and wait until next offseason… but it ca n’t totally be ruled out either given the tanking incentive.

Durant has told Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai that he must choose between keeping Durant or head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks, The Athletic reported on August 8, 2022. (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)Source: AFP

What was consistent among a host of voices in the NBA media landscape was a sense of uncertainty, not knowing what exactly was coming next, again similar to the Simmons saga.

“The whole situation is a mess, but the kind of mess Brooklyn might happily sweep under a rug and ignore, if only it could,” The Ringers Rob Mahoney wrote.

“It’s impossible to replace Kevin Durant. Hell, it’s hard enough just to set a fair return for Durant in a trade, much less one suitors can realistically meet. Every ask sounds ridiculous because Durant is a genuinely ridiculous player.

“That might be the only reason he’s still a Net some six weeks after requesting a trade—and maybe the real reason KD is stirring the pot with this ultimatum in the first place. Does he really want Marks and Nash gone? Or is he just looking to send a shock through the Nets’ system?”

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The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer, meanwhile, pointed towards Durant’s strong endorsement of Marks after the Brooklyn’s four-game sweep at the hands of Boston as proof of just how confusing it all is.

“If Durant wanted Nash out but didn’t feel like putting him on blast to the media 10 minutes after the season ended, he could have discussed Nash’s future with an ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Now’s not the time for that’ . But he didn’t,” Schiffer wrote.

Schiffer agreed one “plausible explanation” is that this is Durant trying to force Brooklyn’s hand, to make the situation so untenable that the Nets back down.

Durant wants out of Brooklyn. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The Heat have been heavily linked to Durant since he first requested the trade but are unlikely to have the assets to make it work, at least in a traditional two-team deal.

The Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang though Durant’s ultimatum was an important point in the drama, even if it still left “plenty of questions unanswered”.

“But in the wake of The Athletic’s report that Durant doesn’t want to work with Nash or Marks, the question is: Will this force the Nets to trade Durant prior to the start of training camp in late September to avoid any awkward tension and drama between the two parties? he wrote.

“That sort of deadline could take away some of the Nets’ leverage as the window to trade Durant before training camp shrinks as each day passes.

“The Nets could also decide to take Durant into training camp if a good enough offer doesn’t present itself, which would force Durant to decide whether to skip practices as he waits to be dealt or play through it.”

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NBA insider Brian Windhorst though was not so sure it would pay off, should Durant’s ultimatum have been a ploy to try speed up a trade out of Brooklyn.

“Doing it now is a manoeuvre, a manoeuvre that I don’t think worked because as I talk to teams out there, they don’t think this increased his trade demand. They think this hurt his trade value,” Windhorst said on ‘NBA Today’.

Windhorst brought up Tsai’s tweet earlier in the week as proof of it, in which the Nets owner claimed: “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

“I want to point to the second half of the Joe Tsai tweet,” Windhorst said.

“I think it’s obviously important to look at the first sentence which is that he’s not going to fire Sean Marks and Steve Nash. But the second sentence is really the sentence that the league paid attention to it. And it seems benign when he says ‘We make decisions for the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.’

“But I’m going to decode that for you. What he’s basically saying is despite what Kevin Durant is trying to do here, we’re not going to change what our expectations are for a trade and if you are not traded, we expect you to be reporting to camp to continue the four years you have left on your contract.”

At this stage though, we are no closer to either party getting what they want, with Schiffer putting it best in his summation of the drama.

“During’s ultimatum,” he wrote, “opened a chest’s worth of questions while the clock to training camp continues to tick more loudly”.



Trade news, Kevin Durant future, trade options, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics trade Jaylen Brown

The Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat were initially listed as preferred landing spots for Kevin Durant but now two new contenders have emerged.

According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are also desirable destinations for the 12-time All-Star.

Of course, Durant has been heavily linked to Boston in recent weeks, with a potential trade package centered around Jaylen Brown.

Dellavedova to make NBA return! | 00:32

But those reports were focused on a move that would work for the Nets. This one looks at just what Durant may be after and it looks like he is keen on the Celtics too.

Boston reportedly offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and a first-round pick but even that does not seem to be enough for Brooklyn, who want reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart.

The Sixers, meanwhile, could offer an attractive package including Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and/or Matisse Thybulle and would see Durant reunite with James Harden.

Durant would be likely to accept a trade to Boston of Philadelphia, though his Brooklyn future is likely in the hands of Joe Tsai.

The 12-time All-Star made an ultimatum to the Nets owner, asking for GM Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash to be fired or be shipped out of town himself.


Nets superstar’s true feelings revealed as ugly exit looms

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Durant told Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai that he must choose between keeping Durant or head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks.  (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)
Durant told Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai that he must choose between keeping Durant or head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)Source: AFP

Durant’s issues with the Nets and specifically Tsai go much deeper than his demand they fire Nash, a source close to the Nets and familiar with KD’s thinking told The New York Post.

“The ultimatum he made is not what really caused the deterioration. It’s not the ultimatum itself,” the source said.

Durant, among other things, was not consulted on the Nets’ firing of assistant coach and director of player development Adam Harrington when the season ended, the source believes.

“There are simple things that destroy a relationship. You fired someone he was close to and didn’t have a conversation about it,” the source said.

Last week, the popular Harrington attended a Liberty WNBA basketball game and was seen hugging current Nets players, according to a Reddit post.

“I would think there are so many things, it’s not one thing,” the source said. “I think KD wants to leave and it doesn’t matter what reasons he says.”

During a meeting this weekend with Tsai said, as he did last month, he wanted to be traded unless Nash was fired, The Post confirmed. There are also reports he wants general manager Sean Marks fired as well.

Marks was the main force behind hiring Nash, sources said.

Where will Kevin Durant end up? (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Durant believes “he traded away too many pieces,” the source said.

Tsai, after the reports Monday about the meeting with Durant, tweeted, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

All involved recognize Marks and Nash do not have autonomy and ultimately if the Nets blow up it is because of Tsai, the source said.

Tsai now has to decide whether to lower his high asking price and get a Durant trade done before training camp opens at the end of September as the 33-year-old star has requested.

“I don’t think anybody on the team is safe from being traded. Everyone is up for grabs,” the source said.

Durant signed a four-year, $198 million contract extension in 2021, so he has limited power in forcing a trade unless he refuses to play. A source told The Post this week that’s an unlikely scenario.

“I don’t think he’s not going to play,” they said.

This article first appeared on The New York Postand was reproduced with permission.



Kyrie Irving slams Brooklyn Nets coach and GM, Steve Nash, Sean Marks, Kevin Durant, trade rumors, whispers, latest

Kevin Durant doesn’t seem to be the only Nets player not enamored with the leadership stylings of GM Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash.

A source close to the Nets organization indicated Kyrie Irving is none too pleased with the pair, either.

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“Kyrie Irving hates these guys,” the source told The Post’s Josh Kosman. “He feels that Nash is terrible and Marks is bad.”

On Monday, The Post confirmed The Athletic’s report that Durant told Tsai that the Nets head honcho had to choose between the 12-time All-Star or his coach and GM.

The face-to-face meeting in London came after Durant requested a trade out of Brooklyn, a year after signing a four-year, $198 million contract extension.

Durant’s backflip on Nash’s position presents a marked change from how he viewed Nash after the Game Four loss to the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

Will Durant and Irving still be with the Nets by the time the new season starts?  (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Will Durant and Irving still be with the Nets by the time the new season starts? (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images


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Kevin Durant’s demands leave the Nets looking like an NBA joke once again

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“Steve’s been dealt a crazy hand the last two years,” Durant said.

“He’s had to deal with so much stuff as a head coach, a first-time coach. Trades, injuries, COVID and just a lot of stuff he had to deal with.

“I’m proud of how he’s focused and his passion for us. We all continue to keep developing over the summer and see what happens.”

Despite the stars making their feelings on Marks and Nash known, Tsai appeared to give his GM and coach a vote of confidence.

“Our front office and coaching staff have my support,” he wrote on Twitter Monday evening. “We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

The Nets effectively banned Irving from being around the team due to his COVID-19 vaccination status and local mandates until December of last season.

The mercurial guard’s murky status played a major role in derailing the season and caused James Harden to request a trade out of town.

Irving picked up his one-year, $36.5 million player option on June 29, with Durant requesting a trade a day later.

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and has been reposted with permission



AFL: Pre-season banter made Collingwood’s Isaac Quaynor and Jack Ginnivan best mates

It’s the Collingwood bromance built on banter.

Jack Ginnivan first registered on Isaac Quaynor’s radar when his agent, John Meesen, asked him two years ago to look out for a “cheeky” new draftee and fellow Kapital Sports Group client.

But it wasn’t until this past summer when Ginnivan’s bravado and spunk caught Quaynor’s attention and he began gravitating to him.

Quaynor was mic’d up one pre-season session and, as a small defender, found himself regularly alongside the dangerous goalsneak.

“I was running past him just trying to razz him up a little bit, and he bit back,” he said of Ginnivan.

“We played on each other in a lot of the match simulation stuff towards the end of pre-season and it was always good fun.

“The more games you play, the more comfortable you feel, so when he wasn’t playing AFL football, he was kind of in his shell a little bit, then as his confidence grew he started to express himself in his own unique way.

“He’s a very confident fella out on the field, he’s very talented, he does some freaky things and he talks a lot of crap when he’s out there – and I love that.”

They have become best mates, with Quaynor watching in awe as the 19-year-old transformed into a “national sensation.”

The pair make up half of the Collingwood representation in the 40-man AFL Players’ Association 22 Under 22 squad, alongside Nathan Murphy and Rising Star favorite Nick Daicos.

“The best part is there are four of us this year and there’s a few other boys who could have been in the mix if they’d played a few more games,” Quaynor said.

“It’s an exciting young group we’ve got at the moment.”

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Quaynor and Ginnivan, who were caught up in a TikTok controversy in June after taking part in a social media trend where they rated women on their features and looks.

“You need to learn from the mistakes you make, and I definitely did,” he said.

“As soon as it came to the media and ‘Wrighty’ (football boss Graham Wright) and things like that; I was automatically remorseful and wanted to get that apology video out to try and nip it in the bud.

“It was pretty full-on but sometimes you’ve got to cop a whack to learn some things.”

Quaynor is convinced Collingwood can win this year’s premiership after a barnstorming run of 11 consecutive victories, including six straight by single-digit margins and eight overall.

The extraordinary run comes a year after the Pies finished second-last and sacked coach Nathan Buckley before hiring Craig McRae, who won his players over with a pre-season pledge to be “a man of his word”.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and a great year to date,” Quaynor said.

“I think the way ‘Fly’ (McRae) and the rest of the coaching staff have been able to direct the ship and create this family, winning environment and culture so quickly is pretty special.

“Us young boys are really buying into that and kind of drive that, which really helps as well.”

Voting runs from August 10 to 17 at, with the final team announced on August 23 on the AFL’s social media channels



Keidean Coleman (Bris), Isaac Quaynor (Coll), Nathan Murphy (Coll), Nick Daicos (Coll), Hayden Young (Frem), Jordan Clark (Frem), Sam De Koning (Geel), Harrison Petty (Melb), Bailey Scott (NM), Nick Blakey (Syd), Tom McCartin (Syd)


Sam Berry (Adel), Adam Cerra (Carl), Sam Walsh (Carl), Andrew Brayshaw (Frem), Caleb Serong (Frem), Matt Rowell (GC), Noah Anderson (GC), Tom Green (GWS), Jai Newcombe (Haw), James Jordon (Melb), Connor Rozee (PA), Zak Butters (PA), Chad Warner (Syd), James Rowbottom (Syd), Justin McInerney (Syd), Bailey Smith (WB)


Darcy Fogarty (Adel), Cameron Rayner (Bris), Jack Ginnivan (Coll), Nic Martin (Ess), Michael Frederick (Fre), Izak Rankine (GC), Kysaiah Pickett (Melb), Max King (StK), Errol Gulden (Syd), Aaron Naughton (WB), Cody Weightman (WB)


Luke Jackson (Melb), Noah Balta (Rich)



‘Trade me or fire them’: Kevin Durant’s bombshell Brooklyn Nets demand, Kyrie Irving

NBA megastar Kevin Durant has reportedly given Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai a bombshell ultimatum, demanding coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks are fired — or he is traded.

Durant requested a trade in June but any move will require a massive package in return, none of which have eventuated, The New York Post reported.

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The Athletic reported Durant had a face-to-face meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai in London over the weekend in which he issued an ultimatum: Trade me or fire them.

According to the report, the Nets have “direct knowledge” concerning why the 12-time All-Star has asked to be moved on a year after he signed a four-year, $198 million extension. Also according to the report, Durant “does not have faith” in the direction of the team.

A source close to the Nets organization indicated Durant is not the only Nets star unhappy with the team’s leadership.

“Kyrie Irving hates these guys,” the source said. “He feels that Nash is terrible and Marks is bad.”

“KD came to the same conclusion,” the source added.

The two-time NBA champion and 2014 MVP’s discontent reportedly stems from the fact the Nets were swept by Boston in the playoffs, after struggling to a 44-38 record last year, despite having the likes of Durant and Irving, while James Harden also played on the side for most of the year.

But the demands have fallen on deaf ears as Tsai tweeted on Tuesday: “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

Nash, a 48-year-old Canadian and two-time NBA MVP as a guard, got his first coaching job with the Nets in 2020 and has gone 92-62 in two seasons guiding Brooklyn.

Marks, 46, was the first player from New Zealand in the NBA and won two league titles, one as a forward with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005 and the other as an assistant coach with the Spurs in 2014.

He spent most of the next two seasons as the Spurs’ assistant general manager before being hired to oversee the rebuilding Nets.

The Nets have yet to find a trade offer that would prompt them to deal Durant, and according to the report, Tsai and the Nets have made it known they would take “every last asset from a team that trades for Durant.”

In stating the lofty hope for the trade return, perhaps the Nets believe Durant would be less motivated to leave and more likely to report to September’s training camp.

But as the ultimatum becomes publicly known, it is difficult to imagine an avenue toward Durant playing again with the Nets or showing up to pre-season action with a team put together by Marks and coached by Nash — unless Tsai chooses the player over the organization’s leaders.

The Nets are seeking a young All-Star and a collection of draft picks for Durant, but finding equal value for a 33-year-old prodigious talent signed through 2025-26 is challenging.

This story first appeared in the New York Post and was republished with permission.

With AFP



Rugby Championship, reaction, New Zealand rugby Ian Foster, Scott Robertson, highlights

One of New Zealand’s most respected scribes has called for Scott Robertson to replace Ian Foster as tensions reach breaking point across the Tasman following the All Blacks’ 26-10 defeat to the Springboks over the weekend.

“It’s time to ring Scott Robertson, tell him to be waiting with his hand-picked assistants and for him and Jason Ryan to get on with rebuilding a legacy that is in danger of being horribly tainted if there is no definitive action taken,” wrote Gregor Paul in the New Zealand Herald.

“There is nothing now that can happen to convince anyone in New Zealand – anyone who knows the game – that the All Blacks are going to miraculously improve without a total and brutal cleanout and reset.

“Confidence has been shattered, all hope lost and it would be madness for New Zealand Rugby to do anything other than get out the check book, pay off the termination fees and usher in a new era.”

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Calls for Scott Robertson to replace Ian Foster are becoming deafening after the All Blacks slumped to their third straight defeat.  Photo: Getty Images
Calls for Scott Robertson to replace Ian Foster are becoming deafening after the All Blacks slumped to their third straight defeat. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

The strong column comes after the All Blacks slumped to a 24-year first, as the nation slumped to its third straight defeat after previously losing their first home series in 28 years.

The 16-point loss, which was also their fifth defeat from six Tests, will see New Zealand drop to a historic low of fifth when World Rugby updates their rankings.

But, as was pointed out, it was not just the scoreboard that revealed the grim picture, it was the nature of the All Blacks’ defeat.

Foster’s side barely fired a shot.

It took until midway through the second half to get inside the Springboks’ 22 meter line and, for much of the game, they were suffocated by a rush defense that forced errors from the usually highly skilled New Zealand backs.

Malcolm Marx was the chief disrupter for the All Blacks, as the Springboks hooker, playing his 50th Test, regularly got on the ball and turned it over.

Malcolm Marx was awarded player of the match for his stunning breakdown work against the All Blacks. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

The All Blacks only made two real chances.

The first they bombed after some Beauden Barrett brilliance from his own goal-line ended in a terrible forward pass from flanker Akira Ioane near halfway.

The second chance saw Shannon Frizell slam the ball down out wide after Caleb Clarke crashed the Springbok defence, before brilliantly being tackled from behind by a diving Damian Willemse.

“In their defining hour, their day of reckoning, the All Blacks barely fired a shot,” wrote Liam Napier for the New Zealand Herald.

“Mbombela Stadium exploded at the seams with 45,000 screaming South Africans forming a sea of ​​green; a piercing atmosphere. The locals sure had plenty to shout about, too.

“In that white hot cauldron, among the swarming Springboks, on their first venture to South Africa in four years, the All Blacks failed to cope with the relentless aerial and physical assault on their senses.

“It wasn’t the All Blacks were intimidated. It wasn’t they were caught off guard, either. The Boks stuck to their unimaginative kick-heavy, forward-dominated blueprint and executed it to perfection. The All Blacks knew it was coming – and still had few answers.”


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The All Blacks barely fired a shot against the Springboks in their Rugby Championship opener. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Some of the more colorful writing came from Jamie Wall.

“Here we go again. Another All Black loss in 2022, the third in four tests, another week of mounting pressure on the coaching staff and the people that put them there. The loss was another extension of the gaping wound that is the national side, now festering with pus and infection, stinking to high heaven of defeat and desperation,” Wall wrote for Radio New Zealand.

In his post-match interview, Foster described the defeat as “probably our best performance of the year”.

“We’re bitterly disappointed but I felt it was our most improved performance this year,” Foster said.

“Some of the areas we really shifted our game forward. In a game dominated by defense we defended well but our timing was out a little bit in terms of the attack so we’re going to have to go and have a look at that. There’s a few players over here for the first time feeling the pressure that comes from this type of team.

“We’re pretty excited about the next challenge of playing at Ellis Park for a trophy.”

Wall said that “seems somewhat laughable considering it was the heaviest defeat to the Springboks since 1928.

“But really, the sad truth is that he might be right.

“However, if that’s all there is to brag about, then the labeling of this test shows just how delusional this side is about the way they are playing. As if it wasn’t already, this is a serious crisis that is only going to get worse before it gets better.”

New Zealand’s coach Ian Foster looks ahead of the Rugby Championship international rugby match between South Africa and New Zealand at the Mbombela Stadium. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

Long-time rugby writer Marc Hinton quite rightly pointed out that there was nothing shocking about losing to the Springboks, but he added the heavily one-sided nature to the defeat was concerning. After all, the All Blacks did beat the Springboks 57-0 in 2017 — a match which included eight players in the 23 from the weekend’s 26-10 loss.

“This was a limited, painful and at times gormless performance from an All Blacks side that has completely lost its mojo, its confidence, its rhythm and, to be frank, its wherewithal,” wrote Hinton for stuff.

“Ian Foster’s coaching tenure now hangs by a slender thread after his All Blacks proved patently ill-equipped to handle a superb display of high-intensity rugby from the world champion Springboks.

“The South Africans started and all-but finished this Rugby Championship opener, in front of a passionate, seeing crowd of over 43,000 at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, with players being driven off the field in medi-carts, but in between they applied a massive knockout blow to these reeling All Blacks with a 26-10 victory that was every bit as one-sided as it sounds.

“It is no disgrace to lose to a side of the caliber of this South African outfit. Plenty have over the years, and plenty more will too in days to come. But to go down so decisively, and largely fail to apply anything resembling sustained pressure on their opponents for so much of this one-sided contest, well, it spoke to how far this All Blacks side has plunged.”


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NZRU CEO Mark Robinson (L) has come under fire for overseeing the All Blacks’ struggles on and off the field. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Meanwhile, the South African media basked in their team’s glory, but highlighted that this was the most “convincing winning margin in the professional era” over the All Blacks.


“They may have failed to keep the All Blacks tryless in a Bok win for the first time since the Wellington success in 1998, but the 16-point buffer was by far their most convincing winning margin in the professional era,” wrote Khanyiso Tshwaku on

“It wasn’t pretty – seldom is the Bok way of rugby – and it is said that only a mother could love how they go about their business.

“However, they earned the love of not just the 42,387 who packed into the giraffe-propped nation, but the entire country. “It was aggressive. It was physical. It was faultless and flawless in every sense.”

Craig Ray, writing for the Boks were “dominant, emphatic, claustrophobic and clinical.

“The Springboks have seldom, if ever, dominated an All Black side so comprehensively. Despite a 26-10 final scoreline, the tourists were lucky it was not a lot worse.

“New Zealand hardly had any ball, they lost the aerial battle, they were destroyed on the ground and smothered when they did try to launch attacks.

“All Blacks coach Ian Foster’s time in charge is now surely measured in hours, not days.”

New Zealand’s fly-half Beauden Barrett (2nd R) attempts to get away from star center Lukhanyo Am (2nd L) at the Mbombela Stadium on August 6, 2022. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

Brendon Nel, writing for SuperSportinstead focused attention on the marvelous Springboks.

“You could sense it walking into the stadium. The electricity in the air. The nerves, the tension. So many of us who have arrived at these games before – in places across the world – know there simply is no thing as a bad All Black team. They may be wounded, but they are dangerous. And before the naysayers take out another knife for the now-inevitable demise of Ian Foster’s coaching stint with the All Blacks, let’s say it fairly – This was a magical Springbok performance,” Nel wrote.

He continued: “This was a night that Nelspruit had been waiting for. There weren’t just one or two heroes, but an entire team.This was a night where the ghosts of the past were laid to rest, where the passion and pride in Springbok rugby showed that while there may be those who relish writing them off across the world, those who have turned Springbok-hating into a sport, nothing can stop the heart of a Springbok.”



Wests Tigers, Michael Maguire, Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Tim Sheens, coaching

Former Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has warned Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah about the “challenge” of coaching, with the pair set to begin their new roles next season.

The Tigers confirmed last month that legends Marshall and Farah would return to the club as assistant coaches next season, under famous coach Tim Sheens.

Former Kiwi Test star Marshall will then take over from Sheens in the top job for three seasons from 2025.

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Premiership winning coach Maguire is “looking forward” to seeing the famous duo reunite at the club where they both rose to fame, as they look to turn the Tigers around.

But speaking on The Back Page, ‘Madge’ also made sure to caution them about how difficult their new jobs can be.

“There’s many ways to do it so I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out,” Maguire said on The Back Page.

“Coaching is about spending time and actually coaching. They’ve got a few rookies that are going to come through and it is going to be a great challenge for the guys that are coming through in Benji and Robbie.


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“I think they’re qualified because of the experiences they’ve had but coaching is not just about what happens there. It is life, it’s about the player and looking after the quality of each individual.

“It’s going to be a really good challenge for them.”

Wests started the season with five consecutive losses before record back-to-back wins over premiership contenders Parramatta and South Sydney.

But the veteran coach of 233 NRL games was later sacked as the club continued their underwhelming form, winning just one from their next five.

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The Tigers were on another noteworthy losing run before their controversial loss to the Cowboys in Round 19, before bouncing back with an emphatic win over Brisbane last week.

Reflecting on his time at the club, Maguire said that his three-and-a-half-year tenure was a “great challenge.”

“I’m really fond of my time there, even though we didn’t get to where we wanted to get to and everyone wants to win a comp,” he said.

“But what I have learned over time and being in and around various clubs, is that we’re all working for the same thing but they’re so different.

“The makings of the club, where the club fits with their juniors to the recruiting to what goes on in the background, they’re all so different and that’s what us coaches enjoy, being able to bring that together to create the success.”

Maguire coached the World No. 1 Kiwis to a convincing 20-point win over Tonga in Auckland earlier this year, with rugby league returning to New Zealand.

With the World Cup just around the corner, the 48-year-old said that he’s focused on his role with New Zealand, but revealed that he wants to win another NRL premiership.

“I’ve taken a bit of a backwards step I guess. I’m just focused on the Kiwis and I’ve enjoyed that part because you don’t have the heat of the week-in, week-out. But I do miss that.

“That’s something that has always fueled myself, the challenge of each week. I’m starting to learn what it’s like to have the weekend and your family there because you’re so used to having to rise each week.

“I’m just sort of eyes wide open at the moment. I do love it [coaching] and I want to win another comp. To be in that arena is another desire.”



Will Ashcroft nominated Brisbane Lions under father-son rule, draft rankings

Will Ashcroft, the son of a triple premiership Lions great and the best player in this year’s AFL draft pool according to many scouts, will join the Brisbane Lions next year.

The Lions on Thursday confirmed they had formally agreed to join the club as a father-son selection at this year’s national draft after officially nominating Brisbane as his preferred destination earlier in the day.

It means Brisbane now gets the opportunity to match a rival club bid on Ashcroft, who’s widely regarded as the Pick 1 favorite for November’s draft.

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One recruiter told Ashcroft “could play AFL this week” as he was on a “different level” to most of this year’s draft class.

Ashcroft’s father is Marcus Ashcroft, who played 318 games with the Lions and was part of the club’s famous three-peat premiership from 2001 to 2003.

He trained with the Lions’ AFL list last summer then played two games with the club’s VFL team in early May. He starred, of course, for the Lions against both Sydney and Coburg, averaging 28 disposals, eight tackles, six inside 50s and five clearances across the two matches.

Will Ashcroft of Vic Metro. Picture: Dylan BurnsSource: Getty Images

Ashcroft has impressed at every level he’s played so far this year, including in the recent AFL Under 18 National Championships. He booted two goals and averaged 33.3 disposals, 15.0 contested possessions, 10.0 clearances, 6.7 tackles and 6.7 inside 50s from his three Vic Metro matches.

The 18-year-old is the hot favorite to claim this year’s Larke Medal – the award given to the best player of the annual carnival — when it’s awarded next month. Recent winners of the honor include Stephen Coniglio, Lachie Whitfield, Dom Sheed, Jack Graham and Sam Walsh – the latter, of which, Ashcroft has been compared to for his elite on-field consistency and leadership, as well as his off-field professionalism of the.

“I can’t wait to join the club and start earning the respect of all the players and coaching staff,” Will Ashcroft said.

“I was lucky enough to do some work with the midfielders last pre-season and I am really looking forward to learning from them and hopefully breaking into that group and seeing what we can become.

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“To be following after dad is a privilege and if I can achieve half of what he did then I would be happy. I am also looking forward to forging my own name.

“I’d like to say a big thanks to Leon Harris (Lions recruiter) he has done heaps of work over the years to support me. And also a huge thanks to my parents and brother and sister for all they have done.”

Lions football boss Danny Daly said it’ll be exciting to see Ashcroft follow in his father’s footsteps.

“Will is one of the most talented young players in the country and to have him choose the Brisbane Lions to start his AFL career is a huge moment for all involved,” Daly said.

Will Ashcroft of the Sandringham Dragons. Picture: Morgan HancockSource: Getty Images

“He has impressed at every level he has played at this year, and like our members, we cannot wait for him to pull on a Brisbane Lions jumper.”

Possibly complicating matters, in a positive way, for the Lions is they have another father-son prospect in first-round calculations, with Jaspa Fletcher – the son of Adrian Fletcher who played 231 games for four clubs including 107 for Brisbane – rising up draft boards following an three strong carnival games for the Allies.

It means the Lions could spend most of this year’s trade period banking selections to match rival club bids on Ashcroft and, possibly, Fletcher. As of July 26, the Lions held Picks 16, 34, 44 (via Port Adelaide) and 70 in the draft, but will need more picks in their arsenal to secure Ashcroft if his name is called at Pick 1.

Ashcroft’s main competitor for the Pick 1 mantle is seen as George Wardlaw – a powerful, competitive and combative inside midfielder that models his game on Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver.